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​​​​7.2.9 Guidelines for Lobbying and Electioneering

​​​​​Signature Gathering for Initiatives

​Archdiocesan property should not be used to gather signatures for the purpose of qualifying initiatives for the ballot. While individuals and groups from parishes and schools can and should be encouraged to engage in such activity on issues that are consistent with the Church's social teaching, the actual collection of signatures should not take place on location property. ​

Individuals and groups can use public sidewalks for signature gathering. Although individuals and groups are not required to obtain permission from the location for such activity, proper coordination and communication will help to minimize any possible disruption of activities and will facilitate communications in the parish and school community. The archdiocese encourages all individuals and groups that wish to engage in signature gathering to contact the person in charge at the location before organizing such activity.​

Voter Registration, Voter Mobilization, and Use of Facilities by Political Parties

Catholic locations are encouraged to organize nonpartisan voter registration and voter mobilization drives. These efforts, however, must not appear in any way to support or oppose a particular political party or a particular candidate. Location facilities may not be used by any political parties. Political activity is encouraged but it is not proper for a parish, a school, or any other archdiocesan location to become partisan. Locations can promote civic participation by:

  • Encouraging the faithful to register to vote 

  • Instructing the faithful on how to apply for vote-by-mail ballots 

  • Reminding and assisting the faithful to vote

Voter registration and mobilization drives should have the prior authorization of the person in charge. Organizers are encouraged to work closely with the person in charge to determine where and when representatives will be registering voters on archdiocesan property or at off-site locations at grocery stores, shopping malls, etc. The person in charge should confirm that coordinators of voter registration and mobilization drives are clear about the guidelines for church involvement in political activity. 

See Political Activity ​Guidelines.

Voter Education

Parishes can make a significant contribution during the election season by providing parishioners with a moral and ethical context to discuss and understand issues. Catholic social tradition and teaching provides an excellent framework to engage parishioners about public policy issues. See ​Faithful Citize​nship​​, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship​​, and Political Activity Guidelines.
Voter education must focus only on issues and must avoid any direct or indirect support for or opposition to candidates or parties. 

Voter education and voter reg​ist​ration​​ are to be kept as separate activities. Volunteers cannot register people to vote based on their position on a particular issue or their support for or opposition to a particular candidate or party.

Typically during election years, parishes are contacted by various religious, community, and political organizations that would like voter education materials distributed by parishes and parish groups. In order to maintain the integrity of the archdiocesan involvement in the political process, materials approved by the United States Conference o​f Catholic Bishops, California Catholic C​onference​, or the Archdiocese of Los​ Angeles​​ should be used. The Office of the ​Legal Counsel​ of the archdiocese can assist in these matters.​